Monday, June 30, 2014

The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King - and a Giveaway!





The Big Book of Superheroes by Bart King, illustrated by Greg Paprocki (April 2014, Gibbs Smith, for ages 9 to 12)

Source: hardcover review copy from the publisher

Synopsis (from the publisher): If you're wondering if you have what it takes to be a superhero--of course you do! All you need is a burning desire to fight evildoers. Oh, and also a secret identity, the perfect name, a cool costume, some terrific superpowers, and an archenemy. Actually, you know what? You better get this book. 


From The Big Book of Superheros by Bart King. Illustration by Greg Paprocki. Used by permission.


Why I recommend it: It's super fun! This book is chock-full of info, along with quizzes, crafts, and comics. It's tongue-in-cheek and even downright silly (and liberally sprinkled with exclamation points!) but always entertaining. Kids will lap this up, while you'll enjoy dipping into it. Think of it as Everything You Wanted to Know About Superheroes and How to Become One (But Never Thought To Ask). Did you know the first hero was a girl? Did you know going offline will help you develop a superpower? Did you know the greatest superhero saying wasn't said by a superhero?

When Bart King contacted me in May, I remembered all his previous books from the bookstore where I used to work. The Big Books of Boy Stuff, Girl Stuff, Spy Stuff, and Gross Stuff were always brisk sellers. 

Bart kindly agreed to answer three questions:

Bart working in his home office


1) Bart, if you could have only one superpower, what would it be, and why?

There was a time when I thought being “Dishwasher Safe” might be exciting. But now, I wish I had the power to travel 30 seconds into the future. This would set up delightful scenarios like...
—“How did Bart get in the front seat so fast? I was going to call shotgun!”
—“What the what?! Bart ate the last slice of pizza AGAIN?”
—”Bart, can you get the mower out and—hmm, he was here a second ago...”

Also, I should mention that kids who don’t read are my kryptonite. So I’d love to be able to shoot a beam (or write a book) that could persuade them to change their ways! :P



2) I think you may have done that with this book, Bart. So...who's your favorite villain?

Doctor Doom. 

Maybe Doctor Doom’s my favorite because he uses an entire country as his hideout, and the capital is called Doomstadt. Maybe it’s because the airport there is Doomsport, and the biggest local holiday is Doom’s Day.

Or most likely, Doctor Doom is my favorite villain because I wish that I could get away with wearing body armor and a green cape. :P



3) You started your writing career with a book for adults (An Architectural Guidebook to Portland). What made you switch to writing for children?


As a longtime middle school teacher, I tried to model the behavior I wanted from my students. So when I assigned an ambitious research paper to my 8th graders in 1997, I decided to do one myself. 

At that time, I was a newcomer to Portland (Oregon), and was curious about the civic history of the city. So I started researching specific buildings downtown, looking for common threads in terms of timelines, social events, architects, building styles, etc. 

While this may sound as dry as brick dust, I found myself looking at our “built environment” in a completely new way. And my classroom research paper eventually led to An Architectural Guidebook to Portland (Oregon State University Press). That book became a terrific prop for me to pull out when students said things like “Why do we have to do this?” about their writing assignments.

After the Architectural Guidebook, I pivoted to writing for kids. Like any teacher, I had reluctant readers...and I wanted to try to write books that appealed directly to them. (Also, I have a useful superpower: I’m incredibly immature!) 


Bart with a friend, from the official website

Thanks so much, Bart. Readers, what superpower would YOU choose? I would choose super speed-reading so I could get through my TBR list. 


From The Big Book of Superheros by Bart King. Illustration by Greg Paprocki. Used by permission.

Visit Bart King's website

Follow Bart on Twitter

Here's a great review from This Kid Reviews Books

And now for the giveaway! Gibbs Smith has generously offered a hardcover copy to one lucky winner. Sorry, but the publisher is limiting this one to continental US addresses only (hey, it's a heavy book).

Entering is simple: you must be a follower and you must leave a comment on this post. For extra fun, in your comment tell us what superpower you would choose (but only one!).

This giveaway ends at 10 pm EDT on Sun July 13. I'll let randomizer pick a winner, who will be announced on Monday July 14. Good luck!

31 comments:

  1. How fun! I know a number of reluctant readers who would enjoy this one. The sample drawings sold me. Thanks for featuring and for the hilarious interview.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Greg. This would be perfect for reluctant readers.

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  2. lol, thanks for the fun interview. I love his home office. So unique! :)

    ~Akoss
    PS: Don't enter me in this giveaway.

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    1. Ha ha, yes. His "home office" looks like fun. Bart has a great sense of humor.

      (And I've noted your request)

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  3. This sounds like a fun read! I especially enjoyed your interview and how Bart switched from writing nonfiction for adults to writing for kids.
    Thanks for featuring this!

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    1. That intrigued me too, Jenni, that he was able to make that switch. Being a teacher must help.

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  4. Thanks for the wonderful author interview. The book seems like a lot of fun. I really like the simple drawing style!

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    1. Welcome to the blog, Reader. And welcome to MMGM.

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  5. Bart King is awesome and I want this book NOW.

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  6. Replies
    1. Ha ha! That he is! Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. I don't care how old I am, whenever Bart King holds aloft his mighty pen, and pumps out another book, I have to check it out. He has not disappointed!

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  8. Wow, this one really looks like fun. My granddaughter would love this. Love the interview. Dishwasher safe -- funny guy! At my age, I think I would choose wrinkle free for my super power.

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    1. Ah, I'm getting there too, Rosi. And thanks for your kind words.

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  9. Thank you, Joanne, for hosting me here at MBoB...and thanks also to these gracious commenters for the kind words. :) (And Rosi, I'm right there with you!)

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    1. You're welcome, Bart. And thanks so much for visiting my blog. I'm honored.

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  10. Mr. King (and his books) are awesome! I already have this book so don't include me in the give away. My superpower (if I'm feeling in a slightly super-mood) to have all the superpowers, but only when you truly need them. But, if not, I might say, the power to be late to everything - I could be Late Man! Arriving late to pain, death, and dinner parties! ;)

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  11. I know how much you love this book, Erik! Glad you already have your own copy. And that's a clever superpower.

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  12. I will have to get this for my boys (if I don't win the contest)! My superpower would be flying, so I could get everywhere I wanted without a car!

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    1. That's a great idea, Kat. You could zip everywhere in no time.

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  13. I read one of Bart's other books and really liked it. This one looks great too. My students would love it

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  14. You know what? I want the same superpower you do! Loved the interview and the photo of Bart in the hamster cage. You know, I think I am going to like his book!

    p.s. in Canada

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    1. Yes, that superpower would be most helpful! Glad you liked the interview and yes, that photo of Bart is hilarious. Aw, Deb. I know you're in Canada. So sorry the publisher is limiting this one. Hope you'll buy a copy.

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  15. Dear Joanne,

    I couldn't find an email for you, so I hope you don't mind my posting this here.

    My name is Laurisa Reyes, and I am the Editor-in-Chief of Middle Shelf, a digital book review magazine for kids. In each bi-monthly issue we recognize blogs that exhibit the spirit of middle grade books with a Best of the Blogs Award. My Brain on Books has been awarded in our July/August issue. You will find your blog noted on page 51. Also, I have an award button to display on your blog if you wish. Just send me an email at laurisa at shelfmediagroup dot com and I'll send that along.

    http://issuu.com/middleshelf/docs/middle_shelf_july-august_2014

    Sincerely,


    --
    Laurisa White Reyes

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  16. I know I missed the giveaway- but this book sounds awesome! I love the picture of Bart in his office. This interview was excellent and made me laugh. I definitely need to read this one! Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

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    1. Thanks, Jess! Hope you do buy a copy. It's a lot of fun.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.